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Thursday, 26 July 2018

Reviews: Redemption, Vultur, Manticora, Falcun

Redemption: Long Nights Journey Into Day (Metal Blade Records)

Redemption guitarist/keyboardist Nick Van Dyk had this to say about their seventh album: "If there's a consistent message to Redemption's music, it's that life is a struggle and there is pain and fear and doubt, but, ultimately, it is a thing of beauty and wonderment. If you push through the struggle, the rewards of that process itself, along with what you find on the other side, are joyous and a fantastic gift." This is pretty much the theme of every Redemption album so far having dealt with a huge amount of darkness on their last album The Art Of Loss they have brought in more light on Long Nights Journey Into Day which is based upon Eugene O'Neill's play Long Day's Journey Into Night, which focuses on the decay of a family that's plagued by addiction.

Again it seems Redemption aren't taking the easy route again this time however there has been a few changes in the ranks as former vocalist Ray Alder returned to Fates Warning so in his place are the emotive pipes of Evergrey's Tom S. Englund who like Alder is no stranger to the progressive metal genre so he slots in well handling the complex arrangements and also being well versed in the art of capturing the human condition in his lyrics so fitting into the high brow Redemption was easy. Lead guitarist Bernie Versailles also sits out this record as he has since his aneurysm in 2014 here the band use Simone Mularoni(DGM/Empyrios) and the legendary Chris Poland (ex-Megadeth) to take the leads along with keyboardist Vikram Shankar filling out the band. 

The record deals with a myriad of themes The Echo Chamber a political track about the 'sheep mentality' promoted by social media, Indulge In Colour is a brilliantly melodic powerful track and the expansive title track closes out the record spectacularly. Even the cover of New Year's Day by U2 can't dampen it. Come away from Long Nights Journey Into Day with a sort of catharsis that no matter how bad things get there is a silver lining waiting for you. Brilliant work yet again from Redemption. 9/10        

Vultur: Entangled In The Webs Of Fear (Sevared Records)

Guttural death metal from Greece as Vultur ramp up the heaviness for their debut album, this Athenian gore soaked, death metal band have taken the old school death metal influences of Morbid Angel/Immolation and replicated them here on a record that is drenched in the blood of a thousand corpses opening up the gruesomeness with the title track which opens with low roar from frontman the aptly named Giannis Grim who barks throughout as the low end bludgeoning destroys you with it's viciousness as they peel riff after murderous riff. There's no let up and no chance to take a break, beating as it's tracks such as the ferocious Murder Castle, the relentless Slithering In Carrion and the chunky Incubation Of Grimness even the solo filled beginning of Ritual Excarnation gives way to yet more aural pummelling. If death metal that can peel the flesh is your thing then get Entangled In The Webs Of Fear. 7/10 

Manticora: To Kill, To Live, To Kill (Vicisolem Records)

The first part of a two part concept album from Danish band Manticora based on the frontman's 319 page novel, opens with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto 1 In B Minor Flat and I've certainly heard worse ways to open an album however what happens after this is some of the most generic power metal I've heard for a long while, first of all the production is not great everything is a bit airy and fuzzy especially the drums, much of it lost in the mix however I wish frontman Lars F Larsen was lost a little more in the mix as he has bloody dreadful vocals, ruining any enjoyment of the album for me, he's flat too often but this is their 8th album so clearly someone likes them. I don't. 4/10

Falcun: Kingdom Come (Eat Metal Records)

Apt record company name, Falcun clearly eat, drink, sleep and live heavy metal drawing from the NWOBHM scene they bring the denim, leather and steel of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon with galloping basslines, dual lead guitars and semi-operatic vocals that move from growly mids to soaring highs while they run through some classic metal tunes. Now you'd think I would be talking about a band from the UK, USA or even Sweden but no they hail from that bubbling pool of metal India specifically Kolkata, now for any band to break out of this burgeoning scene is a big deal for one to do so without being in the more extreme style of metal is even rarer.

Maiden is the biggest influence here with fantastical themes the lyrical inspiration for Abhishek Dasgupta (vocals) to do his best air raid siren impression as Anirban Dasroy and Samrat Daas (guitars) weave like Murray and Smith. Locking down those Maiden grooves are Debarshi ‘Bob’ Chakraborty (drums) and Nilavro ‘Rony’ Ghosh (bass), ok so in places it's shameless copyist but you can't fault the passion here, they are playing what they love in a territory that is still growing and gaining acceptance, for a debut and classic metal fans your Kingdom has come! 7/10   

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